Skyfall

Skyfall by Anthony Eaton Read Free Book Online

Book: Skyfall by Anthony Eaton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anthony Eaton
Dernan Mann sat back in his chair.
    Now all he could do was wait.

‘About time.’
    â€˜Sorry. The lift made a couple of stops.’
    â€˜You having caf?’
    â€˜No, I’m right. You go ahead.’
    Even though she was only thirteen, Kes’s caf intake was nothing short of prodigious. Lari watched his friend as she waved her order at the guy behind the counter.
    â€˜How’s the Bean?’
    â€˜Small. Noisy. Smelly. Same as always. He keeps Mum and Dad distracted, though, which is good for me.’
    â€˜I’d have thought you’d be pleased to have a brother.’
    She made a noncommittal gesture.
    â€˜I knew it had to happen eventually, but they waited so long I kind of got to hoping it wouldn’t. You know how it is.’
    â€˜But why? Surely it’s a good thing? Genetic continuance for your family, and all that.’
    â€˜And there speaks someone who’s never had to live in a mixed-use dome apartment with a screaming six-month-old baby.’
    â€˜It can’t be that bad.’
    â€˜You’ve seen our apartment, Lari. You know how small it is.’
    â€˜Yeah, but so are babies.’
    â€˜See – no idea. For something so tiny, they take up a skyload of space. Much more than the rest of us. But you wouldn’t know about that. Not too many three-roomers in your dome, I imagine.’
    â€˜So, what’s this big adventure you’ve planned?’ When Kes got testy, the best thing was to change the subject. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. This morning, Lari was lucky.
    â€˜Later.’ She grinned. ‘You’ll have to see it to believe it.’
    Her caf arrived and she took a sip.
    â€˜Urgh!’
    â€˜Why do you drink it if you don’t like it?’
    â€˜I do like it, but lately it’s been even worse than usual. Everyone’s complaining about it. They must have lowered the water quality protocols again.’
    â€˜I haven’t noticed any difference.’
    â€˜You wouldn’t.’
    â€˜What’s that mean?’
    â€˜You think the same protocols apply to your dome as ours?’
    â€˜Of course they do.’
    â€˜Rubbish.’
    â€˜This is your father talking, isn’t it?’
    â€˜Get off it, Lari.’ Her expression hardened. ‘This is common knowledge to anyone who doesn’t live with their head in the upper atmosphere. They’ve been lowering the protocol standards for mixed-use and lower-level domes for years. Dad reckons the difference in the water between when he was a boy and now is—’
    â€˜I knew this was about your father.’
    â€˜Don’t be smug. It’s about seeing what’s right before your eyes, Lari.’
    She gulped the rest of her caf in one hit and went over to the counter to pay. Lari shook his head. She was even more touchy than usual this morning.
    â€˜You ready?’
    She leaned down to pick up her bag from the floor and a small pendant on a fine silver chain slipped from under the front of her blouse. It was shaped like two tiny sideways tridents, mirroring each other along a slightly curved spine with their points facing outwards, left and right. Only the middle tine of each fork was pointed; the outer ones curled elegantly back over themselves.
    â€˜What’s that?’
    â€˜What?’
    â€˜Your pendant? I’ve never seen it before.’
    A flash of alarm flickered briefly in his friend’s expression.
    â€˜It’s nothing. A teacher gave it to me ages ago.’ She quickly tucked the pendant back into her blouse. ‘Come on, let’s go.’
    â€˜Where’re we going?’
    â€˜You’ll see.’
    They left the ref and headed towards the hub. The common was thronging with people making their way to and from the lower-level shops.
    â€˜You’ll need to clear me,’ Kes told him.
    â€˜Where to?’
    â€˜Your dome.’
    â€˜Why’d I have to come

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